Green leafy vegetables are the heavy-lifters of your diet. They are low in fat and carbohydrates, but highly rich in dietary fibre, rich in iron and calcium, in folic acid (which is a vital vitamin B, not produced by the body), vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein and beta-carotene. They have a low glycemic index and are probably the most diabetic-friendly food there is. A recent study has shown that two daily servings of green leafy vegetables lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11 percent. Now, that’s not a conclusive list, and it’s already quite long. While all the benefits should be compelling enough to eat more of these green powerhouses, a lot of us don’t find them appetising and don’t eat even a single serving on an average day. Here are a few things you can do to effortlessly add more greens to your diet, while never compromising on the taste.
Toss them in a smoothie
Hardcore “green smoothies” are probably too, well, hardcore for most people. But even vegetable haters can easily toss a handful of spinach or lettuce into a frozen mixture of bananas and apples and enjoy the drink without noticing the added health benefit of the hidden greens. Green leafy vegetables can be added to just about any smoothie, but work especially well when masked by chocolate, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries. You can gradually add more greens as you adjust to enjoy maximal health benefits. This is a trick that works with kids too.
Sneak them in your sabzis
That aloo-gobi will not taste very different if you add a bit of the green goodness to it. Fenugreek leaves are a lot more common in sabzis. They have a stronger flavor, but a lot of us Indians like them more for it. Toss in those methi leaves even if you are not making aloo-methi. Your heart will be thankful. Spinach is a lot less domineering in sabzis. Sneak that in any gravy you make. Who says only tomatoes and onions belong in gravies. Any sabzi with a gravy is easy game.
A plateful of raw green leafy vegetables can be daunting to all but the most devoted of vegetable lovers. But when wilted, green leafy vegetables still provide most of their nutritious goodness in a more manageable form.
Saute a bit of garlic in any oil (olive can add that extra flavour to the greens) for 1 minute and then just add the greens. Wait until they become limp. Season with salt and any other spices you fancy. This can be a side with rice or rotis. It’s fresh and much more palatable than a sparse salad. Mustard greens are great for wilting. So is spinach.
Make some soup!
The amount of greens appropriate for soup varies greatly depending upon the type of soup, but just about any soup can easily be made more nutritious by adding green leafy vegetables. Just use any recipe that you like, and supplement the vegetables with the greens of your choice. You will hardly be able tell that there are greens in there.
Eat them on a sandwich
By sandwiches we mean the Indian hot sandwiches. A common way to eat bread in India is with an onion sabzi-like spread. Make this as usual, but add in those greens at the end. The onion will (as expected) overpower any other taste, and you’ll have the same “sandwich” you love. But healthier.